One of the unique advantages to Platform Product Management is that your product supports more than one, if not all, product areas. As such, your team manages a critical component to success for many business imperatives. This provides you with a broad vantage point into overall product portfolio performance and opportunities. Leverage this perspective to observe gaps and think through potential solutions. Then take the lead to earn credibility across departments early on. Your efforts will be appreciated and you will make a lasting positive impact to the team.
Platform PM Tip #1: Strategically Align Across Functions
Given that platform product management is foundational for multiple strategic initiatives you will naturally interact with many different product, engineering, and business teams. Take stock of the various teams that are direct or indirect stakeholders in your product. For example, a customer portal would likely interface with all product areas and its users. Alternatively, cross-organizational product integrations may provide additional channels to expand and increase revenue. Seek advice from key relationships on the potential ways to keep the lines of communication open across teams.
As you build bridges across functions, remember to be protective of your valuable time. If you were to regularly attend all of your stakeholders’ team meetings, then you would have no time for strategic thinking and execution. One approach could be to transform your cross-functional allies into champions for your product. By enabling internal champions to debrief their respective teams on your updates and sharing their team’s feedback, you will be able to scale your cross-functional influence. This should of course be balanced with your own touchpoints within various departments via forums such as product newsletters, guest appearing at team meetings, and ad hoc conversations to stay engaged. This will greatly scale your ability to keep the various teams abreast of important updates. The tips I previously outlined in “Do Get Product Feedback. Don’t Get Stuck” will help to build and maintain relationships across the organization.
Platform PM Tip #2: Identify Cross-Product Opportunities
Listen for trends, pain points, and perspectives throughout your interactions. Take the time to document feedback that directly affects your product area and share it with key stakeholders. This will reinsure your colleagues that you are both listening to and considering their feedback. It will also provide a valuable product discovery resource. Extract the emerging themes from your discussions and consider them against your organizational, product portfolio, and product goals. For example, do certain themes align across the entire product suite? Which themes support new revenue or retention initiatives? What might the level of effort be to address each item?
Next, prioritize the feedback themes based upon the number of goals each aligns against. This helps to provide a starting point for stack ranking the list. You can then align with cross-functional stakeholders on the strategy and refine it as needed. The items towards the top of the list are great opportunities to drive initiatives that will benefit your customers and satisfy multiple departments. This can be further illustrated by highlighting the cross-team OKRs the initiatives will support. Stakeholders will appreciate you considering broader goals as opposed to focusing on those of only one product area.
Platform PM Tip #3: Drive Highest Priority to Completion
Stay focused on the highest priority opportunity and drive the supporting initiatives to completion. The trust you cultivate through building stakeholder relationships and thoughtful prioritization will earn you cross-functional buy-in. This will be invaluable to enlist support for charging through obstacles that arise during execution and gathering continuous feedback. Be sure to keep abreast of customer engagement across product areas once the features have launched and address any concerns that might arise. Then take a breath and celebrate the cross-product platform win with your platform product management team!
About the speaker
Bharat Manglani is a Senior Product Manager at Zefr, an ad tech company focused on enabling content-level targeting and measurement across the world’s largest walled garden platforms. He was also a Product Manager at Human Security, a cybersecurity company focused on verifying the humanity of transactions over the Internet and disrupting the economics of cybercrime. Currently, he manages Zefr\'s reporting and analytics products, and his passion lies in protecting the Internet by helping to identify brand unsafe content.